"There's spiritual sites all over this place,” says Chief Roland Willson of the local West Moberly First Nation. “Anywhere around here you put a shovel in the ground and start digging, you’ll find arrowheads, remnants of our ancestors here, going back as far as 13,000 years ago. Well, that was us. And we’re still here, we’re still using the valley.” Willson is talking about the Peace River Valley, including the 65 square kilometres that will be flooded by the Site C dam.
West Moberly is one of seven First Nations whose traditional territories cover the Peace Region in northeast B.C. They’re part of the only historic treaty in B.C., Treaty 8, which protects their right to hunt, fish and trap for a livelihood and otherwise continue living “as if they had never entered into Treaty.” Or so said the Crown in 1899.
When construction began in 2015, negotiations continued to decide what compensation First Nations would be offered for infringement on treaty rights, many of which are permanent and un-mitigable. Five First Nations have signed impact agreements, one is still in negotiation, and two remain officially opposed to the project. Compensation is usually a combination of cash payments, land transfers and work opportunities.
What was missing in all these negotiations, many local First Nations people say, was early discussion about whether Site C was necessary and should be built. Instead of talking about compensation, the discussion should be about whether the infringements on treaty rights are justified and about possible alternatives to Site C, they say..." #humanrights #firstnations #canada150 #nositec #unitednations #britishcolumbia #vancity #vancitybuzz #vancouver #kamloops #kelowna #penticton #land #decolonize #reclaimyourpower #ontario #toronto #alberta #edmonton #calgary #wayoflife #brokenpromises #seattle #washingtonstate